Jon Samuel brings out the dead, Eluveitie confuse the issue, Haint Blue cain’t win, Tomato Tomato let out some string, Begonia blossoms, Emilie Khan sees red and more in today’s Roundup. If this is how the rest of February is gonna go, it’s gonna be a long month.
1 Every wage-slave wants to be boss. Every actor wants to direct. And every musician wants to lead the band. That includes Wintersleep keyboardist Jon Samuel. Thing is, unlike a lot of self-deluded players who can’t accept that they truly belong in the back line, Samuel seems to have the chops and the goods to make the leap. Exhibit A: The hard-driving, bass-grinding garage-rocker Dead Melodies, the title track from the Halifax artist’s upcoming sophomore solo album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Jon charges through Dead Melodies’ title track with carefree vigour, riding the song’s adrenalized motorik rhythm toward a joyous, anthemic chorus that wields its title as a badge of stubborn defiance rather than defeat.” Don the mask:
2 Waterfalls and geysers. A guy dragging a trunk through a wasteland by a rope. A swordsman who morphs from adult to child and battles invisible enemies. And a female who singer who dissolves into dust and becomes a friendly crow. If you have any idea what the hell is going on in the impressively cinematic video for Finnish folk-metal outfit Eluveitie’s new single Ategnatos — the title cut of their forthcoming album — you’re doing way better than I am. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We all wade through archetypes. We all ARE archetypes. Distant echoes of a life both primeval and noble. To embrace these archetypes, to accept them not only as a part of life but as life itself is what some may call enlightenment, some peace of mind. Eluveitie call it Ategnatos.” Thanks, that clears it right up:
3 We’re all getting older. Nothing you can do about that. Hopefully, we’re also getting a little bit wiser. But as Baltimore folkies Haint Blue — fronted by singer-songwriter Mike Cohn — point out in their lushly bleak new single Another Year, that’s easier said than done. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I started writing the song quite a while ago, when I was feeling really down on myself on my birthday. I couldn’t figure out why I was screwing up every aspect of my life, even though I was getting into a lot of stupid stuff and being a generally selfish person. The song, as a lot of my songs did at that point in my life, lingered unfinished until I picked it back up a few years ago. I was now on the ‘straight and narrow’, so to speak; maintaining healthy relationships, holding onto a job, drinking less, etc. The irony is that I still felt unfulfilled and directionless, for the most part. So the song dances around the same idea, that idea that we disappoint ourselves sometimes, but from two sides of the same coin.” It’s a toss-up:
4 New Brunswick roots outfit Tomato Tomato’s name looks simple enough. But think about it for a second. Is it pronounced Toe-may-toe Toe-may-toe? Toe-mah-toe Toe-mah-toe? Toe-may-toe Toe-mah-toe? Toe-mah-toe Toe-may-toe? On second thought, let’s call the whole thing off and just watch the endearing video for their sweetly uplifting new single Kite Song, a preview of their March 1 album Canary In A Coal Mine. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Having established themselves over their previous four releases as an award-winning songwriting partnership with a high-energy take on traditional sounds, Tomato Tomato have truly progressed to the next level with Canary In A Coal Mine, made at Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter (Alabama Shakes, Margo Price) with producers Jon Estes and Andrija Tokic, along with some of Music City’s finest musicians.” Time to fly:
5 As Tolstoy taught us: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Presumably, that condition extends to people too. Including people like Winnipeg singer-songwriter Begonia (a.k.a. Alexa Dirks). The former member of Chic Gamine seems to be walking a tightrope between happiness and sorrow in surprisingly cheery new single Beats — but wherever she lands, you have to admit she’s definitely doing it her own way. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Beats is all of my self-doubt and self-confidence living together in a poppy little package. It’s all the voices in my head speaking at once. I get so worked up sometimes it can be hard to see things for what they really are. I think this song is basically saying that you can be deeply vulnerable and completely strong at the same time. It can seem confusing but sometimes you just have to feel all your feelings and then step back, take a deep breath and keep on going.” Can’t beat that:
6 Danger. Passion. Fire. Blood. Stop. These are just some of the things people think about when they see the colour red. And now they can add one more thing to that list: Will You?, the crimson-soaked video for Montreal singer-songwriter and harpist Emilie Khan’s pulsing and seductive new single from her upcoming album Outro. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “For the Will You? video, we wanted to highlight Emilie’s performance while exploring the dark but tender feeling of the song, explains directors Aaliyeh Afshar & Max Taeuschel. Playing with the mirror, blinds and faux walls, we wanted to delve into the liminal divide between life and death in a physical way.” Aren’t you glad they didn’t say orange?
7 Children of Bodom get around. So it probably makes sense the the hard-touring Finnish melodic-death metal kings would pen a song titled This Road. And that they’d serve it up with a lyric video as the latest preview of their 10th album Hexed, due March 8. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “COB frontman guitarist and mastermind Alexi Laiho comments “This Road was actually the last song I wrote but it ended up being the opening track and also one of the singles which makes me happy ’cause it’s one of my faves. It’s different from anything we’ve done since Follow the Reaper but it’s still new. Check it out and you’ll know what I mean.” Watch the road:
8 Maybe I’m getting technical here, but is it really a good idea for a band called Arrival Of Autumn to put out their new album in March? These Alberta metal upstarts obviously don’t have a problem with it; their sophomore disc Harbinger drops like a leaf on March 29. Herald its coming by checking out the incendiary video for first single The Endless. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Harbinger is a warning for all of us to pay attention to what’s going on in the world and improve what we can before it’s too late,” commented vocalist Jamison Friesen. “The Endless questions if we’re disposable pawns in a game that we’re born playing. Do we have the free will to escape, or is humanity doomed to be trapped in a loop?” It’s deja vu all over again:
9 Nobody has ever accused Bear Grillz of not having a head on his shoulders. A giant glowing bear head, to be precise. So, we probably shouldn’t be shocked to hear that the anonymous Colorado DJ is changing his tune and taking things downtempo for his latest single and video Demons. After all, he’s smarter than the average bear. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Offering an alternative to his grizzly brand of dubstep, Bear Grillz displays a softer touch on the future bass single Demons, featuring liberating vocals from RUNN. The song’s theme explores personal demons and emotional struggles as Bear Grillz steps into 2019 revealing more of the man behind the mask than ever before.” That’s no pic-a-nic:
10 Five months can go by in a flash — or feel like an eternity. For New York dubstep DJ Prince Fox (a.k.a. Sam Lassner), it’s probably been the latter. At least, that’s the sense you get from his new single Five Months Later, the tale of a lovelorn guy who can’t get his ex out of his mind — or get her stuff out of his apartment. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Through bittersweet grief, Prince Fox pushes forward on Five Months Later. The single displays his knack for flipping complex subjects into forward-thinking pop that knocks.” Fox knocks? Really? Who’s his publicist? Dr. Seuss?
11 Unnecessary madeup music genre alert: Toronto crew My Son the Hurricane call their style of music brasshop. Which is their way of describing the sound produced by a 12-piece band that has a horn section, more than one drummer and claims to mix New Orleans grooves with funk, jazz and hip-hop. And maybe they’re right — but you won’t really be able to tell from their generically funky new single Ride the Bullet! SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ride the Bullet isn’t a departure, just a fine tuning of a sound the band started years ago when they began in a small apartment in St. Catharines, Ont.” Ready, aim: